Rendering: Winning design

Award-winning light poles to enhance Senate Square

Helsinki’s Senate Square will obtain new light poles. The new poles will help to enhance and unify the area’s image. 

The City of Helsinki organized an open design competition to find a light pole design appropriate for this high-profile urban environment. The winner was Futudesign Oy. The firm’s proposal entitled Happy Together charmed the jury with its smooth, contemporary and minimalistic concept. 

The designers of the winning proposal are Ilkka AirasTeemu Seppänen and Auvo Lindroos. First prize was presented to the design team on 20 December 2018. 

The winning design promotes the realization of a lighting plan produced for the Senate Square earlier. New light poles will replace the current poles surrounding the square. The new poles will be equipped with street and square lights as well as with the façade lights of the surrounding buildings. 

“The goal with new lighting at the Senate Square is to better present the square as a whole. The goal is achieved by using light to highlight the façades of the buildings surrounding the square. The lights themselves will be more inconspicuous than the previous ones,” says Juhani Sandström, the City of Helsinki lighting manager.  

A good light pole serves and doesn’t disturb

The Senate Square doesn’t have a manner of lighting established by history, but the square lighting has always been realized by a manner appropriate for the period. The square lighting has been replaced at approximately 30 years’ intervals. 

Today’s LED lights are small, so the design of light poles can be less bulky than before. Nevertheless, Senate Square light poles must bear the weight of tram overhead wires and enable power supply for events at the square. 

The design competition received 47 proposals. The top proposals successfully integrated technical challenges and the street and square views during both daytime and night hours. 

Second prize went to the design entitled Valon alla (under the light) by Pentagon Design Oy (design team Simon Örnberg and Jari-Pekka Voutilainen). Third prize went to STEM by Tuomo Jauhiainen

The jury acknowledged two designs with special prizes: Yksi risti kaksi by architectural firm Arkkitehtitoimisto Freese Oy, Simo Freese, and Sofie by WSP Finland Oy, Verna KaipainenPia SalmiSirpa LaitinenMatti TapaninenTuomas VuorinenJokke KatajamäkiHeini MyllyojaJukka TuominenTuomas Ritvanen and Carlos Cheas. Tholos by Petri Ullakko was awarded with a honourable mention. 

New light poles installed in 2020 or later

The Senate Square is one of Finland’s most highly valued urban spaces. The buildings surrounding the square form one unified Empire-style complex. To complement the new light poles, the square will retain old lantern-like lights surrounding the statue of Tsar Alexander II and at buildings. 

According to the current estimate, new lights can be installed in 2020 or later, after the completion of a more accurate implementation plan. The jury recommended that further planning should define the heights of poles, among other aspects. 

The design competition was organized by the City of Helsinki in cooperation with the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA and Ornamo Art and Design Finland.  

Read more:

Jury document (in Finnish)

Jury secretary Juhani Sandström’s contact information